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J Exp Biol. 2000 Feb;203(Pt 3):547-57.

Effects of temperature on escape jetting in the squid Loligo opalescens.

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Hopkins Marine Station of Stanford University, Department of Biological Science, Pacific Grove, CA 93950, USA.


In Loligo opalescens, a sudden visual stimulus (flash) elicits a stereotyped, short-latency escape response that is controlled primarily by the giant axon system at 15 C. We used this startle response as an assay to examine the effects of acute temperature changes down to 6 C on behavioral and physiological aspects of escape jetting. In free-swimming squid, latency, distance traveled and peak velocity for single escape jets all increased as temperature decreased. In restrained squid, intra-mantle pressure transients during escape jets increased in latency, duration and amplitude at low temperature. Recordings of stellar nerve activity revealed repetitive firing of the giant motor axon accompanied by increased activity in the non-giant motor axons that run in parallel. Selective stimulation of giant and non-giant motor axons in isolated nerve-muscle preparations failed to show the effects seen in vivo, i.e. increased peak force and increased neural activity at low temperature. Taken together, these results suggest that L. opalescens is able to compensate escape jetting performance for the effects of acute temperature reduction. A major portion of this compensation appears to occur in the central nervous system and involves alterations in the recruitment pattern of both the giant and non-giant axon systems.

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